Comic-Con 2018: New ‘Predator’ film has a surprising link to the original

Sterling K. Brown, left, Olivia Munn and Thomas Jane attend the 20th Century Fox "Predator" panel on Day one of Comic-Con International in San Diego.
(Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP)

Who would win in a battle between the Predator vs. the Rock? The Predator vs. Yoda? The Predator vs. Sarah Conner? These were the tough questions asked during Hall H’s first panel on the first day of Comic-Con 2018. (For most of the hypotheticals, the Predator lost).

“The Predator,” directed by Shane Black, is a re-imagining and continuation of the franchise. At the panel, Black was joined by cast members Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Augusto Aguilera, Thomas Jane and Jake Busey.

In between “Predator versus…” debates and learning fun facts about the cast — Jane isn’t a big fan of wearing shoes anywhere — the Hall H denizens got a preview of what’s to come in September.

The latest installment centers on a young boy (Jacob Tremblay) who accidentally sets off an alert that brings the Predators back to Earth. Except now they’ve genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other alien species and only a crew of former soldiers (and a science teacher, natch) has a chance of stopping the hunters.

The first clip shown Thursday offered a first look at the cast’s chemistry, which was on display throughout the panel.

In the hilarious and expletive-laden clip, Munn, who plays an evolutionary biologist, wakes up disoriented in a hotel room surrounded by a group of soldiers. With one-liners that got guffaws from the audience, the clip showed off some of the group dynamics in the film.

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Black explained that the film’s characters are the modern-day equivalent of the group dynamics in the 1987 sci-fi horror classic.

“It was kind of a wink, you have these super muscular guys with weapons that were absolutely ridiculous,” Black said. “This one we decided, the approach of misfits.”

The next clip garnered more gasps than laughs. It showed a brutal, bloody fight between two Predators, one much larger, stronger and scarier than the other.

“There’s a faction on the Predator home world that’s been bested,” Black said. “They send their ‘champions’ to Earth and they don’t come home. We figured, they want to punch back. There’s an element of a potentially contentious faction on Predator world.”

“Predator” fans also learned a surprising connection between “The Predator” and the 1990 sequel to the original, “Predator 2,” as Busey recalled being on set while his father, Gary Busey, was shooting.

“After all these years of trying to build a career and not just be lumped in with him, this comes along,” Busey said. “I’m the same age in this movie that my dad was.”